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Sen. MacDonald backs effort for hypersonic test range in Michigan

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Michael D. MacDonald said Michigan stands ready to help support hypersonic technology as the U.S. continues to engage in an escalating race with Russia and China to develop hypersonic weapons, which can travel five times faster than the speed of sound.

“In the wake of Russia claiming to use hypersonic weapons in its war on Ukraine and China’s successful hypersonic launch last year, we need to ensure the U.S. can defend our people and our allies — and Michigan’s world-class manufacturing and innovation can help lead the way,” said MacDonald, R-Macomb Township. “Michigan’s bipartisan Legislative Aerospace and Defense Caucus is fully behind efforts to tap into our state’s academic and defense sectors to lead America’s hypersonic development and testing.”

The caucus is co-chaired by MacDonald and Rep. Joe Tate, D-Detroit, to help legislators and aerospace and defense experts discuss and promote advancement in space and military applications.

“We are grateful for the support of the Aerospace and Defense Caucus,” said Gavin Brown, executive director of the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association. “Its support for Michigan’s aerospace and defense industry is crucial for our continued success.”

MAMA is interested in pursuing a potential hypersonic corridor stretching from the Upper Peninsula out to the eastern seaboard that would give commercial and defense developers the opportunity to test hypersonic technology, which is designed for applications that travel at minimum speeds of Mach 5, or nearly 3,800 miles per hour at sea level. The corridor would enable Michigan to offer a much needed test range that will support hypersonic testing for sensors, aerostructures, cooling systems and other materials that travel at Mach 5 and above.

MAMA also is working with Midwestern research institutions, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the Air Force Research Laboratory on funding for technologies relating to the national security of America.